The legislative basis for the Department's support of initiatives towards disabled people was established in 1990 by an amendment to the Transport Act (Northern Ireland) 1967. This is known as Section 75A. The Programme has evolved over the years, utilising Section 75A to supplement and enhance the efforts of mainstream operators in improving accessibility to their public transport services.
Aims of the programme
The aims of the Programme are:
- to target social need by improving accessibility of public transport to people with disabilities who cannot avail of existing conventional services in Northern Ireland
- to complement the work of existing service providers involved in programmes designed to promote social inclusion for people with reduced mobility.
To achieve this, the Programme supports a number of services, in areas that contain a disproportionately high number of people who are mobility impaired and who could sustain a sufficient demand to visit key destinations and utilise these services.
The Programme currently funds a number of activities listed below:
Disability Action Transport Scheme (DATS)
DATS provides a specialised transport service for people living in towns or cities who find it difficult to use public transport. Contact Disability Action to find out more about their scheme:
- Disability Action website
- Disability Action (contacts section)
- Disability Action Transport Scheme (DATS) (nidirect website)
Revenue support is provided to Translink's Easibus services, through the Programme. These services, of which there are 10 in total, operate in Belfast. The services provide accessible local bus services mainly, but not exclusively, for mobility-impaired people who cannot avail of existing conventional services. Customers are drawn from those who reside along the specified routes.
The Programme currently provides financial support for Shopmobility schemes in Ballymena, Belfast, Carrickfergus, Cookstown, Dungannon, Enniskillen, Lisburn, Derry/Londonderry (known as Foyle), Magherafelt, Newry and Omagh. These schemes lend manual and powered wheelchairs and powered scooters to members of the public with limited mobility to shop and use leisure and commercial facilities. Shopmobility schemes can be seen as the final link in the accessible transport chain.
The Department has now published a guidance document, called "How to Prepare and Apply for Funding for a Shopmobility Scheme". If you currently operate a Shopmobility scheme and already receive funding from the Department, or if you do not currently receive funding from the Department but think you would be eligible to do so, or if you are simply thinking about starting up such a scheme, please contact the Department or complete the application form in the guidance document available on-line via the link below.
The Department also funds an umbrella group for Shopmobility in Northern Ireland. The aim of this group (known as Shopmobility NI) is to encourage and support existing and new schemes, through networking, information, training and exchanging news and views. Anyone wishing to have more information on the umbrella group or Shopmobility in general should contact Stefan Bukowski (Network Officer):Shopmobility Northern Ireland
Telephone: 079 3419 0242
Advice and support
The Programme funds the work of the Inclusive Mobility and Transport Advisory Committee (Imtac). Imtac advises Government on issues relating to disabled and older people and the transport system. For further information on Imtac, contact the Department or Michael Lorimer at:Imtac
55-59 Adelaide Street
Telephone: 028 9072 6020
Textphone: 028 9072 6016
You can get further information about transport for people with disabilities on the Motoring and Transport section of the NI Direct website.